Who (like me) forgot about ‘Stir up Sunday’ a few weeks ago? If you haven’t heard of it before, it is the last Sunday before Advent starts. All the keen bakers out there get their dried fruits out to soak in their chosen alcoholic beverages and start the looooooong arduous process of creating their Christmas centre piece. There is a proper, historically accurate, reason for this ‘Stir-up Sunday’ but I don’t know it.
Anyway, I only just remembered about it yesterday. Bit late, huh? Exactly one day before my family Christmas party. Not exactly enough time to knock out a Christmas fruit cake or steamed pudding. I’m not normally this un-organised, but it just somehow slipped my mind. So, with one day to go, I had to get my thinking cap on. And fast.
I didn’t want to go down the normal route of mince pies. Everyone does those. So I settled on the idea of a Gallette de Rois, the festive French “king cake”. I have used almost the same recipe that Raymond Blanc has written here, but with a few little changes.
Et voila, a gloriously light dessert for all the family to enjoy!
The following will make two small Gallettes. Enough to generously serve 10-12:
2x sheets of ready to roll puff pastry
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
100g of unsalted butter
75g icing sugar
75g ground almonds
1tbsp dark rum
2 royal gala apples
1tbsp caster sugar
Cut four identical rounds out of the two rolls of pastry. (I know, I know, I should be making my own… but this recipe is faffy in itself so I couldn’t be doing will making the pastry too. Forgive me?) Once they are cut, cover in cling-film and pop them in the fridge for an hour to chill.
Whilst the pastry chills, make the filling – almond paste and caramelised apples.
For the almond paste- mix together the egg, one egg yolk, 75g of the butter, the icing sugar, ground almonds and rum until smooth. This then follows the pastry into the fridge to chill. For the caramelised apples- core and cut the apples into slices. Transfer these, as well as the remaining butter and caster sugar into a frying pan and cooked on a medium heat until the juices started to reduce and the apples turned a beautiful golden colour.
After the circles have chilled, layer up the fillings on two circles, leaving an inch clear from the edge. With some of the remaining egg yolk, wash the free edge and pop the remaining circles on top and squished down the edges firmly. Covering the cakes again in cling-film, chill for another hour. Told you it was faffy.
Once chilled, crimped the edges with the back of a spoon and egg wash the tart with remaining yolk. take a blunt knife and score lines down from the centre outwards and bake them in the oven for 180* for 40 minutes.
*If you are wondering how or why I have picked this as a Christmassy dessert alternative to a pudding or fruit cake, and have finished reading this post thinking I am off my rocker, it is all down to the French tradition that accompanies this dessert. It is custom for there to be a ceramic figurine or baking bead inside the cake somewhere (pop it in before securing the second circle on top). Whoever gets the slice with the figurine inside is the King for the rest of the day/evening and will have their greatest wish realised! -there are a few different theories to this but this is the one I was introduced to the cake with and the one I like the sound of best!!